A Crowded House (Mrs. Dalloway Room)

A Crowded House tells the story of Virginia Woolf's life through the lens of her novels. The house consisted of nine rooms, each written by a different playwright. I had the Mrs. Dalloway room:

Virginia Woolf throws a dinner party to celebrate the release of her latest book, Mrs. Dalloway, with which she hopes she can finally squelch that young upstart James Joyce once and for all. Unfortunately, cooking disasters, ill-tempered guests, and general pandemonium wreak havoc upon both the party and Woolf's sanity.

Read a selection from the script.

Characters

  • VIRGINIA WOOLF, a troubled author
  • CLARISSA DALLOWAY, a British society lady, obsessed with flowers
  • LEONARD WOOLF, Virginia's supportive husband
  • LYTTON STRACHEY, a man of arts and culture (read: homosexual)
  • DORA CARRINGTON, Lytton's improbable girlfriend and unlikely etymologist
  • VANESSA BELL, Virginia's sister, very competitive
  • CLIVE BELL, Vanessa's husband, a boar hunter and a boring one
  • ROGER FRY, a painting critic, not the highlight of the party

Productions

  • State Theatre of Chicago (Chicago, November 2010)

Backstory

If you've ever read a book by Virginia Woolf or studied her literary epoch, you are well ahead of me. Before this project began, I knew her as the lady in the title of Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which play I later learned has nothing to do with her.

However, by speed-reading through Mrs. Dalloway (I think it has something to do with flowers?) and relying on the State Theatre's awesome dramaturgs, I managed to feign Woolf savvy and write a ten(ish) minute play that has something to do with flowers.


The Portuguese liked Goa so much that they conquered it in the 15th century, built a slew of cathedrals, and declared it a second Lisbon. The city proved less popular than they hoped, however, due to high taxes and bubonic plague. ~ India: Currying Favor